Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang (The Stories of Grandma Basyang) is a compilation of stories written by Severino Reyes under the pen name "Lola Basyang". There were about 500 stories written and its themes center on silly kings, brave adventurers, kind peasants, strange people, places and treasures. All of which contained moral lessons that the readers could ponder on. It was translated into komiks, radio shows, movies, theatre plays and even on television. In fact, Lola Basyang has become a legend and a Filipino icon synonymous with storytelling.
Lola Basyang came about purely by accident. The first story entitled "Plautin ni Periking" was actually intended only as a filler because they didn’t have enough materials to fill up a small space in one of the magazine’s pages. Being the magazine's editor-in-chief, he had to come up with a story to fill the space in time. At the age of 75, he wrote the story "Plautin ni Periking" and signed it "Lola Basyang". He thought that it would be unethical if he put his name on it. He then remembered an old lady from Quiapo, Manila named Gervacia Guzman de Zamora. She is popularly known as Tandang Basyang and every afternoon, children would flock around her rocking chair and listen to her stories. The story was published in 1925. No article followed since it was only intended as a filler. But after two weeks, avid readers sent requests for a reprint of the first story and to publish more Lola Basyang stories. The rest is history.
Lola Basyang stories were published in Liwayway Magazine were in prose. In 1949, Binoy (Severino Reyes' pet name)'s son, Pedrito Reyes, decided to revive the "Lola Basyang" stories. During that time, komiks was in its golden age in the Philippines, thus, working on the original scripts of his father, Pedrito transformed Lola Basyang's stories into komiks form, appearing in the earliest isuues of the Tagalog Klasiks. The illustrations were done by Maning De Leon, Jesus Ramos, and later on Ruben Yandoc and Jess Jodloman.
From 1946 to 1972, the Golden Age of Komiks and Movies in the Philippines coincided. Since Komiks was a popular form of entertainment in the Philippines during that time, movie producers created some of the greatest box-office blockbusters from komiks materials. Translating komiks stories into films/movies became a trend in the local cinema during that time, thus, "Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang" was produced by Sampaguita Pictures in 1958 . This movie is a twinbill of two Lola Basyang stories.
Dolphy, the Philippines' King of Comedy starred in "Si Pedrong Walang Takot" (Fearless Pedro).This is about a cowardly man named Pedro who gains courage by means of an enchanted bell that he used to scare away the kapre (a hairy giant).
The second one is "Ang Prinsesang Naging Pulubi" (The Princess Who Became a Beggar). A princess from a faraway land (portrayed by the glamorous Gloria Romero) rejected all of her high-profile suitors, believing that material riches cannot provide genuine happiness. Her act of constantly spurning her suitors provoked the ire of his father, the King. He decreed that she be given to the first beggar who finds his way to the royal garden. From this beggar (Juancho Gutierrez), she found true love.
In 1985, almost three decades later, Regal Films reincarnated Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang on the big screen. The trilogy starred Chichay as the lovable Lola Basyang. In fact, the character Lola Basyang is attached to Chichay up to date. This movie was directed by Maryo J. delos Reyes. The three stories features three of the most popular loveteams of that circa: Gabby Concepcion & Snooky Serna, William Martinez & Maricel Soriano, and Nora Aunor & Tirso Cruz III.
The first story is entitled "Nahihimbing na Kagandahan" (Sleeping Beauty) which is inspired by the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Gabby Concepcion and Snooky Serna makes stars in this Sleeping Beauty-inspired episode. This also stars Lani Mercado and Nova Villa.
The second story is a horror-comedy flick entitled "Zombie". It starred the love-team of Maricel Soriano and William Martinez with Manilyn Reynes. The three, gets lost while en route to a camping trip. They enter an eerie house, manned by the even creepier albeit funny Palito and while chugging down the soup filled with human entrails they still managed to accept the offer to sleep over at the decrepit house. They did managed to stay alive, while screaming their heads off in the process.
The third episode is a semi-musical entitled "Kerubin". It is about a group of child laborers working for three mean old ladies headed by Bella Flores, and how Kerubin (played by Chuckie Dreyfuss), an angel sent by God to free these kids from the clutches of evil. Nora Aunor stars as the niece of the mean old ladies, who happens to be the good one. Tirso Cruz III, Lou Veloso, Sheryl Cruz and Tina Paner were also in the cast.
In 2006, Anvil Publishing, Inc. relaunched "Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang," a series of picture books based from the tales written by Severino and was retold by Christine Bellen.
The 10 picture books available are: "Ang Alamat ng Lamok," (which was originally entitled "Ang Parusa ng Higante") "Mahiwagang Biyulin," "Parusa ng Duwende," "Plautin ni Periking," "Rosa Mistica," "Ang Binibining Tumalo sa Hari," "Ang Prinsipe ng mga Ibon," "Ang Prinsipeng Duwag," "Si Pandakotyong," and "Ang Prinsipeng Mahaba ang Ilong."
All books were illustrated by Frances Alcaraz, Albert Gamos, Elbert Or, Liza Flores and Ruben de Jesus.
In 2006, The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) produced a theatrical version of Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang. Christine Bellen (the same person who have retold Lola Basyang stories for Anvil) and PETA chose three stories to be staged.
These were "Ang Prinsipeng Mahaba ang Ilong," which is the story of a prince who was cursed with a nose as long as an elephant’s; "Binibining Tumalo sa Mahal na Hari," a story about a maiden who earns the ire of the king of Tondo and endures three challenges that test her cleverness; and "Ang Prinsipeng Duwag", which is about a prince who is ridiculed for his refusal to fight wars.
GMA Network bought the rights for a TV serialization of Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang. This airs every Sunday night. The show is directed by Argel Joseph and Don Michael Perez
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